Intel Reports Largest Quarterly Loss In Company History

In the company’s first-quarter earnings results (PDF) on Wednesday, Intel reported a 133% annual reduction in earnings per share. “Revenue dropped nearly 36% year over year to $11.7 billion,” adds CNBC. From the report: In the first quarter, Intel swung to a net loss of $2.8 billion, or 66 cents per share, from a net profit of $8.1 billion, or $1.98 per share, last year. Excluding the impact of inventory restructuring, a recent change to employee stock options and other acquisition-related charges, Intel said it lost 4 cents a share, which was a narrower loss than analyst had expected. Revenue decreased to $11.7 billion from $18.4 billion a year ago.

It’s the fifth consecutive quarter of falling sales for the semiconductor giant and the second consecutive quarter of losses. It’s also Intel’s largest quarterly loss of all time, beating out the fourth quarter of 2017, when it lost $687 million. Intel hopes that by 2026 that it can manufacture chips as advanced as those made by TSMC in Taiwan, and it can compete for custom work like Apple’s A-series chips in iPhones. Intel said on Thursday it was still on track to hit that goal.

Intel’s Client Computing group, which includes the chips that power the majority of desktop and laptop Windows PCs, reported $5.8 billion in revenue, down 38% on an annual basis. Intel’s server chip division, under its Data Center and AI segment suffered an even worse decline, falling 39% to $3.7 billion. Its smallest full line of business, Network and Edge, posted $1.5 billion in sales, down 30% from the same time last year. One bright spot was Mobileye, which went public last year but is still controlled by Intel. Mobileye makes systems and software for self-driving cars, and reported 16% sales growth to $458 million.

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Intel Co-Founder/Creator of ‘Moore’s Law’ Gordon Moore Dies at Age 94

Intel announced Friday that Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder, has died at the age of 94:

Moore and his longtime colleague Robert Noyce founded Intel in July 1968. Moore initially served as executive vice president until 1975, when he became president. In 1979, Moore was named chairman of the board and chief executive officer, posts he held until 1987, when he gave up the CEO position and continued as chairman. In 1997, Moore became chairman emeritus, stepping down in 2006.

During his lifetime, Moore also dedicated his focus and energy to philanthropy, particularly environmental conservation, science and patient care improvements. Along with his wife of 72 years, he established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes since its founding in 2000….

“Though he never aspired to be a household name, Gordon’s vision and his life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological developments that shape our everyday lives,” said foundation president Harvey Fineberg. “Yet those historic achievements are only part of his legacy. His and Betty’s generosity as philanthropists will shape the world for generations to come.”

Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said, “Gordon Moore defined the technology industry through his insight and vision. He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades. We at Intel remain inspired by Moore’s Law and intend to pursue it until the periodic table is exhausted….”

Prior to establishing Intel, Moore and Noyce participated in the founding of Fairchild Semiconductor, where they played central roles in the first commercial production of diffused silicon transistors and later the world’s first commercially viable integrated circuits. The two had previously worked together under William Shockley, the co-inventor of the transistor and founder of Shockley Semiconductor, which was the first semiconductor company established in what would become Silicon Valley.

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Intel Officially Introduces Pay-As-You-Go Chip Licensing

Intel has officially revealed its Intel On Demand program that will activate select accelerators and features of the company’s upcoming Xeon Scalable Sapphire Rapids processor. The new pay-as-you-go program will allow Intel to reduce the number of SKUs it ships while still capitalizing on the technologies it has to offer. From a report: Furthermore, its clients will be able to upgrade their machines without replacing actual hardware or offering additional services to their clients. Intel’s upcoming Intel’s 4th Generation Xeon Scalable Sapphire Rapids processors are equipped with various special-purpose accelerators and security technologies that all customers do not need at all times. To offer such end-users additional flexibility regarding investments, Intel will deliver them to buy its CPUs with those capabilities disabled but turn them on if they are needed at some point. The Software Defined Silicon (SDSi) technology will also allow Intel to sell fewer CPU models and then enable its clients or partners to activate certain features if needed (to use them on-prem or offer them as a service). The list of technologies that Intel wants to make available on demand includes Software Guard Extensions, Dynamic Load Balancer (DLB), Intel Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA), Intel In-Memory Analytics Accelerator (IAA), Intel In-Memory Analytics Accelerator, and Intel QuickAssist Technology (QAT) to accelerate specific workloads.

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Intel Confirms Alder Lake BIOS Source Code Leaked

Tom’s Hardware reports:

We recently broke the news that Intel’s Alder Lake BIOS source code had been leaked to 4chan and Github, with the 6GB file containing tools and code for building and optimizing BIOS/UEFI images. We reported the leak within hours of the initial occurrence, so we didn’t yet have confirmation from Intel that the leak was genuine. Intel has now issued a statement to Tom’s Hardware confirming the incident:

“Our proprietary UEFI code appears to have been leaked by a third party. We do not believe this exposes any new security vulnerabilities as we do not rely on obfuscation of information as a security measure. This code is covered under our bug bounty program within the Project Circuit Breaker campaign, and we encourage any researchers who may identify potential vulnerabilities to bring them our attention through this program….”

The BIOS/UEFI of a computer initializes the hardware before the operating system has loaded, so among its many responsibilities, is establishing connections to certain security mechanisms, like the TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Now that the BIOS/UEFI code is in the wild and Intel has confirmed it as legitimate, both nefarious actors and security researchers alike will undoubtedly probe it to search for potential backdoors and security vulnerabilities….

Intel hasn’t confirmed who leaked the code or where and how it was exfiltrated. However, we do know that the GitHub repository, now taken down but already replicated widely, was created by an apparent LC Future Center employee, a China-based ODM that manufactures laptops for several OEMs, including Lenovo.
Thanks to Slashdot reader Hmmmmmm for sharing the news.

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A New Vulnerability in Intel and AMD CPUs Lets Hackers Steal Encryption Keys

Microprocessors from Intel, AMD, and other companies contain a newly discovered weakness that remote attackers can exploit to obtain cryptographic keys and other secret data traveling through the hardware, researchers said on Tuesday. From a report: Hardware manufacturers have long known that hackers can extract secret cryptographic data from a chip by measuring the power it consumes while processing those values. Fortunately, the means for exploiting power-analysis attacks against microprocessors is limited because the threat actor has few viable ways to remotely measure power consumption while processing the secret material. Now, a team of researchers has figured out how to turn power-analysis attacks into a different class of side-channel exploit that’s considerably less demanding.

The team discovered that dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) — a power and thermal management feature added to every modern CPU — allows attackers to deduce the changes in power consumption by monitoring the time it takes for a server to respond to specific carefully made queries. The discovery greatly reduces what’s required. With an understanding of how the DVFS feature works, power side-channel attacks become much simpler timing attacks that can be done remotely. The researchers have dubbed their attack Hertzbleed because it uses the insights into DVFS to expose — or bleed out — data that’s expected to remain private. The vulnerability is tracked as CVE-2022-24436 for Intel chips and CVE-2022-23823 for AMD CPUs. The researchers have already shown how the exploit technique they developed can be used to extract an encryption key from a server running SIKE, a cryptographic algorithm used to establish a secret key between two parties over an otherwise insecure communications channel.

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Intel Beats AMD and Nvidia with Arc GPU’s Full AV1 Support

Neowin notes growing support for the “very efficient, potent, royalty-free video codec” AV1, including Microsoft’s adding of support for hardware acceleration of AV1 on Windows.

But AV1 even turned up in Intel’s announcement this week of the Arc A-series, a new line of discrete GPUs, Neowin reports:

Intel has been quick to respond and the company has become the first such GPU hardware vendor to have full AV1 support on its newly launched Arc GPUs. While AMD and Nvidia both offer AV1 decoding with their newest GPUs, neither have support for AV1 encoding.

Intel says that hardware encoding of AV1 on its new Arc GPUs is 50 times faster than those based on software-only solutions. It also adds that the efficiency of AV1 encode with Arc is 20% better compared to HEVC. With this feature, Intel hopes to potentially capture at least some of the streaming and video editing market that’s based on users who are looking for a more robust AV1 encoding solution compared to CPU-based software approaches.

From Intel’s announcement:
Intel Arc A-Series GPUs are the first in the industry to offer full AV1 hardware acceleration, including both encode and decode, delivering faster video encode and higher quality streaming while consuming the same internet bandwidth. We’ve worked with industry partners to ensure that AV1 support is available today in many of the most popular media applications, with broader adoption expected this year. The AV1 codec will be a game changer for the future of video encoding and streaming.

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Intel Enters Discrete GPU Market With Launch of Arc A-Series For Laptops

MojoKid writes: Today Intel finally launched its first major foray into discrete GPUs for gamers and creators. Dubbed Intel Arc A-Series and comprised of 5 different chips built on two different Arc Alchemist SoCs, the company announced its entry level Arc 3 Graphics is shipping in market now with laptop OEMs delivering new all-Intel products shortly. The two SoCs set the foundation across three performance tiers, including Arc 3, Arc 5, and Arc 7.

For example, Arc A370M arrives today with 8 Xe cores, 8 ray tracing units, 4GB of GDDR6 memory linked to a 64-bit memory bus, and a 1,550MHz graphics clock. Graphics power is rated at 35-50W. However, Arc A770M, Intel’s highest-end mobile GPU will come with 32 Xe cores, 32 ray tracing units, 16GB of GDDR 6 memory over a 256-bit interface and with a 1650MHz graphics clock. Doing the math, Arc A770M could be up to 4X more powerful than Arc 370M. In terms of performance, Intel showcased benchmarks from a laptop outfitted with a Core i7-12700H processor and Arc A370M GPU that can top the 60 FPS threshold at 1080p in many games where integrated graphics could come up far short. Examples included Doom Eternal (63 fps) at high quality settings, and Hitman 3 (62 fps), and Destiny 2 (66 fps) at medium settings. Intel is also showcasing new innovations for content creators as well, with its Deep Link, Hyper Encode and AV1 video compression support offering big gains in video upscaling, encoding and streaming. Finally, Intel Arc Control software will offer unique features like Smooth Sync that blends tearing artifacts when V-Synch is turned off, as well as Creator Studio with background blur, frame tracking and broadcast features for direct game streaming services support.

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Intel’s Pay-As-You-Go CPU Feature Gets Launch Window

Intel’s mysterious Software Defined Silicon (SDSi) mechanism for adding features to Xeon CPUs will be officially supported in Linux 5.18, the next major release of the operating system. Tom’s Hardware reports: SDSi allows users to add features to their CPU after they’ve already purchased it. Formal SDSi support means that the technology is coming to Intel’s Xeon processors that will be released rather shortly, implying Sapphire Rapids will be the first CPUs with SDSi. Intel started to roll out Linux patches to enable its SDSi functionality in the OS last September. By now, several sets of patches have been released and it looks like they will be added to Linux 5.18, which is due this Spring. Hans de Goede, a long-time Linux developer who works at Red Hat on a wide array of hardware enablement related projects, claims that SDSi will land in Linux 5.18 if no problems emerge, reports Phoronix. “Assuming no major issues are found, the plan definitely is to get this in before the 5.18 merge window,” said de Goede.

Intel Software Defined Silicon (SDSi) is a mechanism for activating additional silicon features in already produced and deployed server CPUs using the software. While formal support for the functionality is coming to Linux 5.18 and is set to be available this spring, Intel hasn’t disclosed what exactly it plans to enable using its pay-as-you-go CPU upgrade model. We don’t know how it works and what it enables, but we can make some educated guesses. […]

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